Manzanilla Maruja, a treasure from Sanlúcar de Barrameda with more than eight years spent in the criaderas

Manzanilla Maruja, una joya sanluqueña con más de 8 años en las criaderas de Bodegas Juan Piñero


A centennial winery built in 1920 was on the verge of disappearing when it was rescued in 1992 by Juan Piñero, a local builder.  His initial intention was to convert the Sanlúcar de Barrameda winery into housing, however, the economic outlook forced him to change his plans.  The economic crisis, as well as the charm of the place, led him to use the building to age wines that he later sold to commercial wineries.

On Trasbolsa Street, in the Barrio Bajo of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Bodegas Juan Piñero has become a typically Sanluqueña winery, ideal for ageing manzanilla.  The winery has seven criaderas and one solera, there are seven meters separating the highest barrels of the criadera from the roof, which is more than sufficient, it has large windows facing west and east to take advantage of the sea breezes, the ground is clay and the stones are ballast, these are all factors which allow the maintenance of a coolness and an humidity that favour the aging of manzanilla.

In 2000, Bodegas Juan Piñero bought the Pedro Domecq winery firm, including its Maruja manzanilla wine barrels that were moved to the ideal location for ageing manzanilla, that is, its Calle Trasbolsa winery.  With the arrival in 2013 of winemaker Ramiro Ibáñez, an expert in albariza soil, the winery now produces generous wines using one hundred percent of the Palomino Fino variety, making manzanilla under the DO Manzanilla-Sanlúcar de Barrameda and fino under the DO Jerez-Xérès-Sherry.

Manzanilla Maruja begins its life in the vineyards of Pago de Hornillo, Sanlúcar de Barrameda.  The grapes undergo a fermentation with native yeasts from the vineyard itself, and then a biological aging, that is, an ageing under a layer of ‘flor’ (yeasts).  It is a system of eight criaderas, therefore, the average age of the wine is between eight and nine years.  Juan Piñero tries to replicate the profile of manzanilla from 40 years ago, with just a gentle filtering. The manzanilla of the last solera is bottled, the solera being the barrel closest to the ground.

Manzanilla Maruja, una joya sanluqueña con más de 8 años en las criaderas de Bodegas Juan PiñeroIn appearance, Maruja is clear, bright and pale in intensity of a golden yellow colour with straw-coloured tears.  On the nose, it is clean and medium (+) in intensity.  Although it is a manzanilla with more aging than many others, primary aromas are still perceivable.  The floral notes of chamomile and blossom stand out, as well as notes of apple and citrus, without forgetting the emblematic salty and mineral aromas of the albariza soil.  As for secondary aromas, they mainly come from yeasts, being lees, bread and pastry aromas.  There are also secondary aromas from the oak, being light notes of vanilla and caramel. The long aging results in the tertiary aromas of almonds, marzipan, dried apple, hay, nuts and toasted bread standing out.

On the palate, Maruja is refreshingly dry, medium (-) in acidity, medium in alcohol, with a round and voluminous body and a pronounced intensity of flavours.  As for the primary flavours, there are hints of apple, olives and citrus, as well as the expressive salty and mineral flavours of the albariza.  The secondary flavours that come from the yeast are of lees, bakery and pastries, and those that come from oak are vanilla.  The average of eight years of aging has allowed the development of tertiary flavours, being of almonds, marzipan, dried apple and walnuts.  The finish is long and persistent, delivering salty and almond flavours.

Maruja is an excellent generous wine.  A service temperature between 8°C and 10°C is recommendable.  Given that the wine has just a light acidity, and therefore an undeniable freshness, it would be pleasant not only consumed as an aperitif, but would also pair well with olives, seafood and fish, pata negra ham, cold soups, salads and even sushi.

Bodegas Juan Piñero
Dirección: Calle Trasbolsa 35, 11540 Sanlúcar de Barrameda, Cádiz
Teléfono: (+34) 956 36 04 65
Correo electrónico: /

Manzanilla Maruja
Tipo: vino blanco generoso, 15% vol.
Cepas: Palomino Fino 100%
DO Manzanilla-Sanlúcar de Barrameda

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